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MNUFC loanee Joe Greenspan named in USL Team of the Week

An early season loan to the USL has already proven fruitful for the 24-year-old.

MLS: Portland Timbers vs Minnesota United FC Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Joseph Greenspan has certainly not wasted any time since arriving on loan to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the USL just over three weeks ago. The towering 6-foot-6 center back has started four matches for Pittsburgh, playing all 90 minutes in each game, and his performance against the Harrisburg City Islanders on Saturday saw him named to the USL Team of the Week yesterday.

Greenspan has already made a noticeable impact in his handful of games in the Steel City, forming a formidable defensive partnership with center back Jamal Jack. The tandem’s defense played a huge role in the team’s clean sheet victory over in-state rivals Harrisburg in the first leg of the Keystone Derby Cup. The Loons loanee tallied four clearances and four tackles in the game and his play was adequate enough for him to be named just the second Riverhounds player in the Team of the Week in the last two years.

A change of scenery and regular playing time have set up the U.S. Naval Academy product to succeed and develop in the short term. Greenspan is currently being coached in Pittsburgh by Dave Brandt, who also was his head coach for his entire four-year tenure on the Navy soccer team. He was thrown into the team’s lineup right away and has exceeded all expectations, registering 23 clearances, 11 tackles, and an assist.

The former Colorado Rapid defender is no stranger to the USL, having been loaned out to two different teams in the league during the 2016 season. His recent form for Pittsburgh has eclipsed anything that he accomplished in his previous spells in Colorado Springs and Charlotte.

Minnesota United manager Adrian Heath appears to be pleased with the progress that his loanee has made in his short time away from the squad. Heath told Megan Ryan of the Star Tribune that the loan was originally supposed to expire at some point in May but both sides have agreed to extend the loan until mid-June when Minnesota will take place in the U.S. Open Cup. Heath went on to say that he spoke to Brandt, who has informed the Loons that Greenspan has been getting better with each week that passes.

Greenspan’s loan success should pay dividends for the Loons on two fronts. The New Jersey native is clearly benefiting from regular playing time and developing at a much quicker pace, and his successful loan spell in the USL could provide a blueprint for success for out-of-favor young players such as Ismaila Jome and Collin Martin. At any rate, this short-term move should continue to benefit all parties concerned until Greenspan is recalled.